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Monday, May 31, 2010

Archenemy Rules!

If you've been around us for a bit, you've probably heard me bring up Archenemy from time to time.

But what is this "Archenemy" thing?

Archenemy is the new Multiplayer offering for Magic. Like Planechase last year, Archenemy products will contain 20 oversized cards used specifically for the Archenemy format and a normal-sized 60-card preconstructed deck. Archenemy releases June 18th.

"But what is 'Archenemy'? Thanks for the product details, but what about rules and stuff?"

Okay, okay! Just a minute! Yeesh! Impatient little buggers, aren't ya?  :)

Let me preview this a bit before we get into details...

Find out more...AFTER THE JUMP.

Archenemy is an "All-vs.-One" multiplayer format. Seems unfair, right?

That's where the 20 oversized cards come in.

Introducing...SCHEME CARDS!


In case you can't read it...
Your Puny Mind Cannot Fathom
When you set this scheme into motion, draw four cards. You have no maximum hand size until your next turn.
(I only did this one because it wasn't in the rules article)

Schemes are the "Archenemy" 's main tools to help combat the normally-unfair "all-against-one" theme. Schemes are like cards that only activate at the beginning of the Archenemy's first Main Phase. The "Scheme Deck" is shuffled before each game, and at the beginning of each of the Archenemy's First Main Phases he or she flips over the top card of the Scheme Deck; this is called "setting a scheme in motion".  The Archenemy then carries out the Scheme's effect.  The Archenemy then puts that Scheme card on the bottom of their Scheme Deck.

Some Schemes introduce the idea of forcing an opponent to either "take one for the team" or "share the burden" of a Scheme.

With these kinds of schemes, a player must choose "self or others." These schemes have a similar theme whether the targeted player chooses "self" or "others"  (for example, this scheme involves an opponent(s) sacrificing land(s)). If the targeted player chooses "others", all of your other opponents perform a smaller version of the action than if the one player chose "self." So with "May Civilization Collapse," the theme is sacrificing lands. A player who chooses "others" forces all of his/her teammates to sacrifice one land; if they chose "self", the targeted player would have to sacrifice two lands (so each other player would have a smaller sacrifice than if the one player sacrificed by him/herself).

Some Schemes are "permanent", or here called "Ongoing Schemes."

An Ongoing Scheme acts like an Enchantment for the Archenemy. It stays face-up on the Scheme Deck and grants the Archenemy certain bonuses until it's "abandoned." "Abandoned" works similar to how some Echantments say "If [this listed condition] is met, sarcrifice this permanent." When the "abandon" condition is met, the Archenemy puts the Ongoing Scheme on the bottom of the Scheme Deck.

So let's say it's the beginning of my turn as the Archenemy. After my Beginning Phase ends (after the Draw Step is done), my First Main Phase starts. At the start of that Main Phase, I flip up the top Scheme Card and see My Undead Horde Awakens. As long as it's face-up on my Scheme Deck, I can reanimate one of your creatures at the start of my End Step. How do you stop me from doing that? If you can destroy that creature (or any creature brought back by the Scheme's ability) or force me to sacrifice it or however you can force me to put it back into your graveyard, My Undead Horde Awakens goes back to the bottom of my Scheme Deck and has no more effect until it comes back up.

There's really only two rules to building a Scheme Deck:
1) Minimum 20 Scheme Cards.
2) Unlike Planechase where you had to have each Plane Card be unique, that's not quite as true for Archenemy's Scheme Cards: You can have up to 2 copies of any Scheme Card in your Scheme Deck. (So yes, you could find 10 Scheme Cards you like and just put 2 of each in a Scheme Deck to make your 20 cards) 

The Archenemy really only has three advantages over everyone else:
1) The (minimum) 20-card Scheme Deck
2) Starting life is 40 instead of 20. 
3) The Archenemy gets to draw a card on the first turn of the game. (Edited in on 6/1)

That's it. The Archenemy gets no other extra favors: No extra cards in hand, no extra deck advantages, nothing else. Everyone else starts out as normal: normal starting hand, 20 life, and no Scheme Deck.

We've spent so much time on the Archenemy, it's time to talk about his opponents.

All players opposing the Archenemy are...well, maybe "non-enemies" is the best way to put things. If you're on the "team" against the Archenemy, then none of your "team" are ever your opponent (so if you wanted to destroy "target opponent's" creature or similar and your teammate's creature is giving you headaches, you're out of luck.).

The "team" is really separate players with a common goal: defeat the Archenemy. Each "teammate" starts with 20 life and gets no Scheme Deck.

The "team" turn is similar to Two-Headed Giant, though: all "teammates" take their turn at the same time and start/end their steps and phases at the same time. That is all that's shared among "teammates."  For example, you can't use your creatures to block an attack on one of your "teammates."
You're still separate players, you're just taking your turns at the same time instead of one teammate at a time.

If a "teammate" loses (thus having to leave the game), the team keeps going! Which make sense: if you're separate players, losing one shouldn't mean the whole team loses.

"So how do we win an Archenemy game??"

If you're the Archenemy, you win when all of your opponents are taken out; one opponent losing doesn't mean the Archenemy automatically wins, it just means that's one less headache for the Archenemy.

If you're the Team, you win if the Archenemy loses.In this case, each "teammate" wins, even if "teammates" left the game before it ended.

It's a casual format to begin with, so do what you please! Do you want a normal free-for-all, but everyone has a Scheme Deck? FEEL FREE! Do you want to adjust the Archenemy's life total so it scales with additional players (for example, say 40 life is when you're up against 2 players, 60 life when it's against 3, 80 life against 4, etc.), be our guest! Just have fun with a new format!

As with Planechase, we also get preview cards for an upcoming set. In this case, we get to see Magic 2011 Core Set previews! Each deck contains 1 preview card from M11. What are they? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

Until then, take care, and I hope you enjoyed this Archenemy preview!

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